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Watchinherskip
02-12-2008, 08:12 PM
I currently have a show in the planetarium that deals with traditions of the season, how we use light in our celebrations of this darkest of seasons (well at least for those of us in the N. Hemisphere) and possible explanations of the Christmas Star.

When was Christ's birth? Lots of debate, but the show puts a possible explanation for the phenomenon. What could it have been to move the wise men? The show goes on to answer the questions. I wanted to see what my little starry night program would say about the possible date and event...so here goes..

The apparent date is not...NOT December 25...that was a pagan celebration of the solstice...but I guess JC was a summer baby...June 17, 2 BC

I set the "way back" machine (in defference to Peabody and Sherman) to that date and the location to Bethlehem..and the series of photos shows Jupiter and Venus aligning into a single beacon from that point (I was inspired by last nights alignment) the first one was in the beginning of June the second a week or so later and the last is the date in question. By the way they aligned in the constellation Leo...the lion was important to the ancient Jews near the bright star Regulus.

Any thoughts?

Johnie
02-12-2008, 08:14 PM
Very cool.

Yes Jesus was not born on Dec. 25th. Almost all of the Christian holidays and celebrations are on days that were originally pagan in nature. It was easier to get people to convert that way.

PsychoAlice
03-12-2008, 02:24 AM
:yes: Some of us re-converted

Johnie
03-12-2008, 02:26 AM
:tongue: I knew you were going to say that

Tink
03-12-2008, 03:01 AM
The presumption is that someone named Jesus was born. I suppose there is enough empirical evidence to support that birth, however moving into the realm of deity is where it gets a little fuzzy, no?

I know so very little about astronomy, 'skip that I can't make any intelligent comment on your very interesting presentation.

I once heard someone describe the christian take over of existing celebrations as "absconding with the beliefs of the people." Remembering of course, that pagan simply meant country people... if it matters it was one of the Good Sisters who made the statement. :)

As we all know, many of the "traditions" we associate with Christmas are rooted in non-christian beginnings. The Yule log and Christmas tree are but two.

Skywatcher
03-12-2008, 08:14 AM
Patrick Moore gave a very cool talk on this a while back - see if I can find a link - I'd always thought it was Venus

Dawn
03-12-2008, 08:16 AM
That's cool Dan. Very interesting.

I always tell Steven the brightest star is the Christmas star. Now I know that's completely wrong and I'm probably referring the Venus. :lol:

Steven tells me the brightest star is his Great Grandad.

Skywatcher
03-12-2008, 09:02 AM
http://www.bbc.co.uk/communicate/archive/patrick_moore/page1.shtml

here you go - he goes through his thoughts as the chat progresses

Watchinherskip
03-12-2008, 02:11 PM
Most of the stuff I have studied and presented here at the planetarium always refer back to the conjunction of Jupiter and Venus. Guess the only place where the planets aligned was in the mid east.

Tink
04-12-2008, 02:13 AM
Thank you for that link, Skywatcher. :yes: Very interesting conversation. I wish I'd seen the documentary to which he refers.

He seems to think it was not Venus, 'skip. :unsure:

I guess I'm feeling pretty dumb right now, because I always thought the Star of Bethlehem was 1) a reference to the Christ Child or 2) a poetic reference to the North Star.

Where on earth did I come up with those ideas? :unsure: Must have heard something as a child that lodged awkwardly in my brain. :spring:

Johnie
04-12-2008, 02:16 AM
I thought the Star of Bethlehem referred to Jesus as well.

Tink
04-12-2008, 02:21 AM
OK. There has to be some sort of common thread there. Although you and I were raised at the opposite ends of the religious spectrum (in some respects) we both have that thought, so there must be some religious teaching based on it? :unsure:

Johnie
04-12-2008, 02:27 AM
It is a Christian concept though. The Star of Bethelehem was supposed to tell the Magi (3 Wise Men) of the Christ child's birth. Ok it is in the Gospel of Matthew.....

Tink
04-12-2008, 02:42 AM
Yes, it is a christian concept, but individual sect dogma interferes in christian interpretation across the board, eh? :yes:

Johnie
04-12-2008, 02:48 AM
This is very true.

Lots of things that happened regarding the prophecy of the Messiah seem to have been orchestrated to show that Jesus was the one. The political climate of the time demanded it. I'm one of those heathens that don't beleive the Bible is the literal word of God......it was written by man and history is always written by the winners.

Watchinherskip
04-12-2008, 02:55 AM
It is a Christian concept though. The Star of Bethelehem was supposed to tell the Magi (3 Wise Men) of the Christ child's birth. Ok it is in the Gospel of Matthew.....


Yup and Luke...

There has been a lot of speculation of what the star was...the wise men were priest of zoroastriansim, sort of into astrology and astronomy. They watched the skies and the formation of the star led them on their journey to see if the Jewish prophecy was actually occuring.

Wasn't a real star as they knew the location of the stars by heart, had to be something new. There was some talk it could have been a comet, none were reported and they were usuallly a really bad omen. Wouldn't have been a shooting star, didn't last long enough. Could have been a nova, or supernova, but none were reported. So astronomers went through their ephemeris, books with tables on the location of the planets and worked it back to find that there was a great conjunction on the date posted and visible in the Bethlehem region.

Was that conjunction the star of Bethlehem? No one knows for sure.

Tink
04-12-2008, 03:16 AM
Thanks, 'skip! That's a tidy summation that serves to bring me up to speed. :yes:

Tinker
04-12-2008, 03:24 AM
Thank you for that link, Skywatcher. :yes: Very interesting conversation. I wish I'd seen the documentary to which he refers.

He seems to think it was not Venus, 'skip. :unsure:

I guess I'm feeling pretty dumb right now, because I always thought the Star of Bethlehem was 1) a reference to the Christ Child or 2) a poetic reference to the North Star.

Where on earth did I come up with those ideas? :unsure: Must have heard something as a child that lodged awkwardly in my brain. :spring: then I got the same lesson .

Tinker
04-12-2008, 03:27 AM
Very Good Explanation, Watchinhership . Thanks